Having got to the point where I feel I have nearly finished the final C&N assignment it has been useful to look at what I felt have been some of the key influences in shaping my approach. There have been several quite diverse influences that have informed my thinking about this final body of work from Roman mosaics and 17th Century painting to contemporary photographers.
The unswept floor mosaics of Italy and Switzerland are fascinating in terms of possibly being a record of the time and visually in their composition. They are said to depict the items discarded during a feast hence their somewhat random placing. They also denote the wealth of feast holder and diners. Connotations picked up again in the 17th & 18th Century still life paintings in Europe.
I am astounded by the beauty and quality of the 17th and 18th Century paintings created by the women still life painters of Northern Europe especially Fede Galizia, Giovanna Garzoni and Rachel Ruysch. There were a number of very successful women artists in the field and it has felt important to make a connection with them.
In terms of contemporary still life photography two women have been particularly influential – Olivia Parker and Laura Letinsky. I came across Olivia Parker’s work early on in C&N and it is a body of work I have continually returned to. For Assignment 5 I was particularly interested in the ‘Not so Still Life’ series. I really admire the quality and atmosphere in her work but I was very struck by this notion of movement within the still life genre.
Laura Letinsky’s still lives, have been influential because of the way she has experimented with the genre; using different visual planes and angles, thinking about what is left behind after the meal (interesting for me in terms of impermanence), and the distinctive quality of light in her work.